wrestlers protest, Sakshi Malik
"In this country, there will be no dictatorship but there will be satyagraha held by women wrestlers," Olympian Sakshi Malik tweeted in Hindi. (Image courtesy: @KanimozhiDMK / Twitter)

‘Not touched at protest site’: Anurag Thakur justifies action against wrestlers

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A day after Delhi Police cracked down on the protesting wrestlers, drawing widespread criticism, Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur justified the action on Monday (May 29), saying they were not touched when the protest was confined to the designated spot at Jantar Mantar.

Delhi Police detained Vinesh Phogat, Bajrang Punia, Sangeeta Phogat, Sakshi Malik, and several others on Sunday when they tried to move towards the new Parliament building for a women’s Mahapanchayat. The building was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday.

The wrestlers, who had been protesting at Jantar Mantar since April 23 seeking the arrest of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) chief and BJP MP Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh on allegations of sexual harassment, were detained and later let off.

However, an FIR was registered against them later for allegedly ignoring a police warning that creating a ruckus during the opening of the new Parliament building would “harm national prestige” and would not be tolerated, officials said.

Also read: Wrestlers detained: TN CM Stalin says Sengol has ‘bent’ the very first day

“It was a historic moment for India”

Addressing a press conference in Ahmedabad to highlight the achievements of the Narendra Modi government over nine years, Thakur said an FIR had already been registered on the allegations of the wrestlers as directed by the Supreme Court.

“No one stopped them from holding protests at a place allotted to them (by the authorities). No one stopped them when they organised a candle march at that designated place,” he said.

Since Delhi Police registered an FIR, as directed by the SC, they should come forward and record their statements, and appropriate action will be taken upon the completion of the probe, the minister added.

“It was a historic moment for the people of India, as we celebrated Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. India, considered the mother of democracy, was receiving its new Parliament building,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

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